Actor/director George Clooney and Bridge of Spies writer Matt Charman will develop the limited series Watergate for Netflix. This expands Clooney’s partnership with Netflix, which will also see him directing and starring in the series Catch-22 based on Joseph Heller’s novel, a role that marks his return to TV after a legendary run on NBC’s ER.
With the Nixon era Pentagon Papers controversy back on the public’s mind thanks to Spielberg’s The Post, Watergate is the next logical place to go. The scandal began in 1972 after five men were caught breaking into the DNC HQ at the Watergate hotel. Watergate dominated news for months, as Congress probed the White House’s efforts to cover up their involvement in the break-in. “What did the president know and when did he know it?” became the question on everyone’s mind. Facing impeachment, Richard Nixon finally resigned, ending our “long national nightmare” in the words of his successor Gerald Ford.
Deadline reports that George Clooney and Netflix will team-up for a limited series covering the earth-shattering Watergate scandal. The series will run for eight episodes. The intriguing format will see each episode devoted to a different Watergate figure, creating a tapestry of conflicting perspectives a la the classic film Rashomon.
Matt Charman, Oscar-nominated for Bridge of Spies, will once again dive into American history for Watergate. In addition, Charman has also written Steven Spielberg’s planned feature on legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite’s role in covering the Vietnam War. Seth Rogen will play Cronkite in Newsflash, a completely separate movie about the JFK assassination.
Movies have tackled Watergate before. The first big film about the scandal All the President’s Men came out in 1976. Centered on reporters Woodward and Bernstein, the film was a big inspiration for 2015’s Best Picture winner Spotlight. Ron Howard later turned his gaze on Richard Nixon for 2008’s Frost/Nixon, about a series of legendary interviews with the disgraced president. 2017 saw the release of Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House about the whistleblower, dubbed “Deep Throat,” who fed information to Woodward and Bernstein. Nixon’s downfall received satirical treatment in Dick, starring Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst as Nixon admirers disillusioned by his lies.
George Clooney’s love of history became evident in his directorial effort Good Night, and Good Luck about newsman Edward R. Murrow. Clooney unfortunately stumbled with his later historical films Leatherheads and The Monuments Men. Let’s hope his Watergate comes closer to Good Night, and Good Luck.
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